How to Light a Natural Portrait

Are you looking to create a nice timeless portrait like we discussed before?  Great, let’s learn how to light this portrait out side.  You will only require one piece of equipment, a large portable reflector.

If you have never worked with one of these reflectors, prepare to be amazed at the results!  If you shoot outdoors often, these cheap little device is probably the number one piece of equipment you can buy right now to really change your photography.  Everyone I have shown these too and how they make a difference are sold on the concept immediately.  Trust me, it is worth way more than the ~$20 you will spend on it.

Your first step to lighting an timeless outdoor portrait is to find a nice area of soft light.  What is soft light you ask?  Soft light is anywhere the sun is not shining directly on your subject.  This can be in the shade under a tree or in the shadow of a tall building.  You want to find the most even light you can find to place your subject.

Now you as the photographer need to maneuver  yourself to eliminate distracting elements in the background.  This includes any objects as well as sunny patches.

Next you will need an assistant ( I often have my one of my kids)   take your reflector and bounce some flattering light on your subject.  You need to experiment with the angle of the light.  Don’t always try to do it straight from underneath your subject.  Depending on how soft the light is, this good lead to a horror movie look!  Check a few angles.  Once you have a good angle, have your assistant hold it there while you shoot.


It is that easy.  Try it out for yourself.  Pick up a reflector and get shooting.  Get that timeless outdoor portrait you will be showing your children in 25 years or so!

Below is an example of a an outdoor portrait we took using our portable reflector.  You can see us bringing light in on our senior with our reflector. What is your biggest barrier to taking your senior pictures?  Leave a comment below and let’s discuss it.  Want to learn more about photography?  Sign up for our email list in the right sidebar and we will notify you when we release tutorials that will help you take DIY Senior Pictures….

reflector effects

Thanks for being a part of DIY Senior Pictures.  Need more immediate help?  Need a step by step process?  Check out our latest Kindle books.  Why not check out our bonus video section too?  Leave a comment and let's discuss your photo concerns.  Talk to you soon.

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